By Cyprian Josson
Hoorah Nollywood, some would shout and raise their champagne cups to celebrate the investments of multinational companies in the Nollywood industry. But it all started with the movie “LIVING IN BONDAGE”. Since the emergence of Nollywood in the early 1990s, it has had a profound influence on African culture: the languages of Nigeria, fashion, cities and beautiful houses are now transported worldwide through the magic of the big screen and more…
The innovators of Nollywood, at least a good number of them are now living in abject poverty. They watch their invention being taken over by big investors who are only interested in how to make money with African cultural products. What’s funny is that these investors do not watch Nollywood movies. How did this happen? Nollywood filmmakers are struggling to sell their movies to big corporations at the risk of losing the original focus of the specific message of Nollywood, stories told by African for Africans. We all know that he pays the piper dictates the tune. Not to lose money, these new players will tell you what to shoot thereby watering down African stories to suit their European or Chinese standards.
I saw this coming in 2016 and as an Expert in the Nollywood industry, an excerpt from my book, Nollywood: The Billion dollars Money Zone reads: “Before the Nollywood revolution, many Africans living abroad suffered from homesickness and nostalgia. Today, the healer is Nollywood! No doubt, these movies have dominated the African and diaspora market taking space away from the shelves of the American blockbusters because the storylines of Hollywood ignore the African way of life. Many Europeans and people elsewhere are now discovering Africa through Nollywood movies”.
As I write this article, the change is that Canal Plus, Netflix, StarTimes and many foreigners will be the storytellers. However, Nollywood movies I watched on Netflix still have the taste of Africa, for example, Kunle Afolayan’s movies. The remake of the movie « Living in Bondage » by Ramsey Noah on Netflix lost touch with the original version.
Go to Netflix and watch Ramsey Noah’s « LIVING IN BONDAGE » and drop a comment below. The big question is this one: Should we hand over our cultural heritage and products to foreign investors because of MONEY?